Spiritual Orientation for Youth and Children should begin at home
| June 25, 2018
Mestre Almir Nahas (photo below), who is responsible for the Spiritual Orientation for Children and Youth of the Beneficent Spiritist Center União do Vegetal (OE), explains that the priority in the 2018/2021 triennium will be to create conditions so that parents can give a good spiritual orientation to their children at home and through their daily actions living together. Mestre Almir Nahas adds that among the goals of Spiritual Orientation are the strengthening of family ties and friendship between families, the integration of OE into the departments of the Center and the diffusion of good art and good culture.
In the interview given to the UDV Blog, he explains about the actions that are already being developed and the challenges for the spiritual orientation of children and youth in a hyperconnected world.
What type of actions are developed?
From the beginning of the UDV, Mestre Gabriel showed his attention and care with his children. Along with Mestre Pequenina he always worked to bring his children, to implement the União do Vegetal and to gather other people and their respective families. Our Mestre has always paid attention to children and youth, starting in his home, paying close attention, clarifying and guiding them, showing the path of good living.
The first families, the first brothers and sisters and their children and grandchildren, constitute the main trunks of this leafy tree that has become the Benificent Spiritist Center União do Vegetal, which grows constantly, with the arrival of new families and the growth of the new children. These children and the children of their children are the ones occupying places of responsibility in the Center.
What OE is doing, inserted in the Department of Instruction and Spiritual Doctrination, is to carry out hundreds of activities, over the course of ten years of systematized work, directed at children and youth, as part of the daily programming of the Núcleos. Recreational, inclusive activities that promote friendship among children and youth, the awakening towards spirituality through the connection with nature, the encouragement to recognize the Good and the Beautiful in the arts. Teaching the practice of good through integration with the Departments of Beneficence, the Plantio and New Enchantment.
There are records organized, in the memory of the OE, of many successful activities that have been working well for a number of years. There are interviews, reports of experiences of Mestres and older people showing their trajectory in the União, Youth Gatherings, excursions, meetings of parents and families, art shows and cooking workshops. There is also a vast repertoire of activities that are cataloged and available in Notebooks of Activities, in an e-book that was released a few months ago and on the OE website, which is about to be launched. There is much work already done and more to come with love for our children and youth, as a service to the families of the Center.
How can parents be made responsible for this guidance?
The parents are already naturally responsible. However, what is needed is to become aware to this reality. There is a cultural tendency, especially in Brazilian society, of parents outsourcing the education of their children. To schools, to TV, to the Internet, to groups of friends and even to the UDV. Nevertheless, those of us affiliated to UDV have the mission of working to build a better world. Moreover, part of this is keeping good morals and changing those that put the family at risk.
It is obvious that parents are responsible for the education and raising of their children, so that they become good citizens, who have the Love of God in their hearts and who can commit themselves throughout their life to the practice of good and living in balance and harmony. Every parent wants happiness for their children and is willing to fight for this.
Outsourcing the education of our children is a deviation that we have been fighting since the beginning of UDV, but more recently, it has become a priority. Therefore, in all the Núcleos in diverse opportunities and in diverse forms, we are helping the parents to honor their responsibility. This includes promoting, during our scheduled Saturdays and also during other opportunities, activities carried out by the parents or together with them and sowing the practice of spiritual guidance within homes, including proposing practices and activities that can be developed habitually between parents and children. The loving and irreplaceable presence of parents with their children, being firm to teach respect, obedience and other real values that bring dignity to adult human beings is fundamental to spiritual growth.
How can leaders contribute to the guidance of parents and consequently of their children? Young people today are exposed to a wide variety of stimuli and information. How can parents be brought information that will allow them to lead their children on a spiritual path?
We have long heard the General Representative Mestre, not just in this mandate, doctrinating about this. It was Mestre Braga (Raimundo Carneiro Braga), as General Representative Mestre, who encouraged and established the preparation of the Guide of Religious Orientation, a book written by Mestre Ruy Fabiano Rabello (Sede Geral – Brasília-DF) and which is the foundation of the work developed for what today is called the Spiritual Orientation of Youth and Children. However, even before the Guide, in some Núcleos and in the General Headquarters, the Direction was already engaged in systematic and organized orientation of work for parents, children and youth.
Is the biggest challenge the internet and the hyperconnected world?
Today, families face serious challenges. The Internet and the culture industry in general, but also schools and other social environments and institutions, are steeped in ideas that promote the destruction of moral, intellectual, and spiritual virtues. Blended with good information, good culture and uplifting art and knowledge, the Internet spreads a lot of junk and many demonic ideas, often disguised as modernity, flexibility and freedom. The first to be aware of this sad reality is us, the Leaders.
Unfortunately, pornography, the trivialization of sex and eroticism, pedophilia and the ideological manipulation of natural and universal values are invading homes, destroying families and casting doubt on the minds and hearts of adults, young people and children. The growth of União do Vegetal has also made our families subject to dangers, fads and the inversion of values. We leaders have to deal with this reality, and even though we do not have answers to all the issues, we need to talk about it, to study, to seek to inform ourselves sufficiently, to transmit safe and loving guidance to parents and children.
We must, as we have always done, combat prejudice of all kinds, but we must seek, while always respecting all people, to be ever more sure and clear about what is wrong and what is right. And to help our brothers and sisters to distinguish one from the other. And today this is not so easy, it requires vigilance, attention and search for knowledge. We must not fear difficult matters, but we must treat them with the care and the depth they deserve, so that our families know how to defend themselves.
As we spoke, young people are exposed daily to the influences of social media. Consumerism, radical ideas, drugs are present in their lives and present themselves as easier paths. How can clearer awareness be brought to the Youth? By showing them the spiritual path as the true alternative to a happier life?
A human being that doesn’t comprehend what the spiritual world means lives adrift, without knowing where they are going. The sooner the child understands that it is a spirit, that there exists the law of return and that it is necessary to make good choices in life to have good results, they become, some very early in life, the protagonist of their life. A child raised by parents who seek to follow God, whether in social settings or in the intimacy of home, tends to follow this good example. The young man or young woman seeks to make conscious, careful choices, paying attention to what they have defined as goals in their life.
We have a large contingent of intelligent, active and capable children who are very interested in spiritual knowledge. And we have a large contingent of them who are still being captivated by spirituality. This captivation is done through sessions with young people and children, the work of captivating, of becoming friends of each child and each young person.
If we have amongst us a good receptivity for children and youth, whether they were already born in UDV families or those who have arrived at some other age, as teenagers or as youth, knowing each young person is the way to gain their trust. Everyone needs guidance, and so do young people. We must become the people they trust and the direction can do the job of alerting to the danger of drugs, pedophilia, and early sexualization (much present in fashion, in music or in social media, where boys and girls are encouraged to expose the body and make sexy poses, for example).
When this work begins as a child, it is easier to orientate in adolescence. This is what we have seen over time in our Núcleos. But it’s always time to understand, to get on the right track and follow the line of the UDV. We all arrived one day, we were accepted and we began to correct our life to find true facility.
With children, what work has been developed in the núcleo? Is there a practice that shows the presence of God, or the idea of a friendly God? How can children be made young people who are more alert?
The main work with children is to value the potential they bring with them. Unfortunately, the predominant education ends up curtailing spontaneity and inhibiting the creative potential of most children. From birth, a child shows why they came into the world and we love this. The art of encouraging the beauty, the joy, the purity of feeling that comes with each child, allowing to unfold the potential that comes with them when they awaken to life is an essential aspect of who creates and educates. Of course, everyone needs encouragement, affection, guidance and security.
In the early years, the environment at home exerts great influence on the adult that this child will become one day. If such care is practiced by parents who respect and love each other, the child is able to see God as a friend because he sees God in his home, in the flow of Love, Peace and Harmony, in the daily practice of Goodness. The OE activities are proposed to become an extension of this. Thus, the work of the Department of Instruction and Spiritual Doctrination, exercised by the Cadre of Mestres, assisted by the Body of Counsel, mainly in the sessions, reaches the children of the members through activities developed with love and affection by the OE volunteers.
One of the indicators that work has been well done for a long time is the expressive number of leaders of the Center who have been part of the irmandade** since they were born. Also, the numerous amounts of families who arrive and meet at the UDV with the support and guidance necessary to remain united and strengthened, contributing to the construction of a world of Peace. Just as the entire UDV is gradually organized according to the need of each period of its history, this is also underway in the Spiritual Orientation for Youth and Children.
*Flávio Gut is a member of the Instructive Body of Núcleo São João Batista (Mairiporã-SP).
**brotherhood, members of a certain Núcleo.